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" Shedding light on our issues "

Dear Dr. Ibrahim:

          Thank you very much for posting the letter of Dr. M. E. Scandarani on your website. This has given us the opportunity to discuss the issues that are important to us. As a result of this controversy, everyone is participating in constructive discussion. The best method of arriving at the truth is to facilitate free expression and dialogue between differing opinions.

          In Libya, however, there is only one opinion which has the full weight and authority of law, and that is Qaddafi's. As a result, Libyan society has been transformed into merely a group of marginalized ciphers--neutralized, impotent, devoid of opinions of their own, lacking in mental judgment and submissive to their superiors, yet oppressive to their subordinates. The phenomenon of lack of conscientiousness has become widespread, and ideals and human values have been distorted, as a result of which society as a whole is unable to deal with issues of minor or major importance. This will ultimately lead to disasters that will leave a legacy of ruin and devastation in all fields.

          The letter from Dr. M.E.S. was not only disingenuous but sometimes blatantly dishonest regarding certain issues. Using the contents of this letter as a basis, I can only assume that the primary motivation of Dr. M.E.S. is selfishness.

          For example, he stated that he attended a "Libyan gathering" in Houston in "1984-85." According to Dr. M.E.S., the purpose of this gathering was to form a "Libyan Friendship Society, similar to the one that Mr. Dorda is advocating." Then he adds, "the society never got off the ground because it was transformed into a political association and each political group wanted to take control." The Libyan meeting to establish the Libyan Social Association (LSA) was held in early 1982, and it was officially registered in the state of Texas on October 14, 1982. There was never a plan to form a group called the "Libyan Friendship Society." The meeting he attended in 1984 was one of several meetings three years after the establishment of the Libyan Social Association. It is true that the LSA did not accomplish the goals that it projected. Many factors were to blame for this failure; however, the LSA's shortcomings were absolutely not attributable to internecine or intergroup political turmoil, as Dr. M.E.S. contends. In fact, some branches of the LSA still exist and are still working. The LSA has been established by the Libyans; on the other hand, the group that the Ambassador is interested in forming would be one established by the minions of a tyrannical regime. The only purpose of such a group would be to support Qaddafi's dictates.

          Dr. M.E.S. also claimed to have "seen Ambassadors to the U.S. and the U.N. come and go; from the first Ambassador appointed to the U.S. under the Monarchy, the late Fathi El-Kikia to the last Ambassador under the current government." In addition, Dr. M.E.S. claims to have arrived in the U.S. in July 1960, yet Ambassador El-Kikhia passed away in August 1958.

          Dr. M.E.S. stated, "It is more honorable to sit down with brother Libyans rather than with agents of foreign governments. . . ." For Dr. M.E.S., life seems to be merely black or white. He does not understand that infinite shades of color lie in between. The term "foreign government" obviously implies the CIA. We should neither sit with the representatives of Qaddafi's regime who are oppressing the Libyan people, nor should we sit with the agents of foreign governments (e.g., the CIA) who implement policies antithetical to the Libyan people. For Dr. M.E.S., there is nothing in between these two extremes. The Libyan people and their interests are victims of both sides. It is a fact that CIA agents have worked with Qaddafi.

          By mentioning the "destruction of Libya," Dr. M.E.S. referred to the U.S. bombing of Libya in 1986. Many Libyans, both individuals and organizations, expressed their outrage at the aggression of the United States on Libya in 1986, but we never heard Dr. M.E.S. say anything then. Considering his station as a professor, he could have written a statement or a letter to the media, but he never did. He mentions this now in order to look good in the eyes of Ambassador Dorda.

          Dr. M.E.S. tries to characterize himself as an activist for the cause of Libya. However, he is just the opposite. He has no interest in advocating for the improvement of Libyan affairs. He never participated in any Libyan activities, politically or socially. In fact, in the 39 years since he has lived in the U.S., he has only attended one Libyan meeting, and he did not attend this one meeting as an activist, but as a passive audience member. He is not aware of the true nature of life inside Libya or the true nature of life for Libyan expatriates. Dr. M.E.S. was not raised in an environment where he learned and inculcated the sense of duty and sacrifice for a public cause. He does not understand that the violation of human rights for any individual is a violation of everyone's human rights. Because he does not understand the concept of duty, he believes that activism is only valid on a mercenary basis. He argued that he was above criticism for "not discussing human rights issues," then admonished the man who would "ask someone else to do his job for him. EARN YOUR KEEP." For humanitarian reasons alone, Dr. M.E.S. should be interested in discussing the egregious violations of human rights that plague our homeland. Activism is based on deep-seated belief; it should never be based on remuneration. Instead, activism is rewarded by political change. Where is Dr. M.E.S.'s sense of outrage at the plight of our people in Libya?

          In his letter, Dr. M.E.S. never lost an opportunity to characterize himself as a good Muslim. Unfortunately, however, he abridges Islam to "Allah S.W.T.," "AODO BELLAH," and "Inshallah." He does not understand that lying is against Islam. He also does not understand that the glorious Qur'an likens the killing of one person to the killing of all. Conversely, the saving of one person is the saving of all. A tragic result is inevitable when those who are governed by an oppressive tyrant obey him and do nothing to throw off that oppressor. Dr. M.E.S. fails to understand the Qur'an's teaching that such people are living in "debauchery" and living in sin.

          Dr. M.E.S. also discusses "former POWs who were brought to the U.S. and abandoned. Such needy brothers are the immediate concern at this point in time." All of a sudden, Dr. M.E.S. wants to justify his attendance at the Ambassador's meeting. Rather than admitting his true motivation for attending--i.e., self-interest--he wishes to convince us of his desire to help the POWs. This issue requires some historical background. In the mid-1980s, Chad defeated Libyan troops in southern Libya and captured POWs. Of course, there are international treaties that regulate the treatment of POWs, but Qaddafi doesn't care about the value of the Libyan human being. After the military operation, Qaddafi officially announced that Libyan troops had never been engaged in a military operation against Chadian troops. Therefore, Qaddafi stated that no Libyan troops were captured by Chad. After Qaddafi's denial of reality, the government of Chad could do whatever they wanted to the POWs and no one could say a word. The government of Chad gave the POWs the option of gaining their freedom by joining a political group to fight Qaddafi. Some of the POWs refused and remain in captivity in Chad. Others accepted Chad's conditions and joined anti-Qaddafi political organizations. During the late 1980s, a military coup occurred in Chad, and, in order to promote the return of good relations with Libya, the new ruler asked the POWs to leave. Subsequently, the POWs left Chad and went to Zaire and then to the United States. Dr. M.E.S. does not understand that these POWs are the victims of Qaddafi's autocratic regime. They are also the victims of the other parties involved. The point here is, how can we expect Qaddafi to help these POWs now when he has already denied their existence 14 years ago? If he had treated them with respect, their present circumstances would not be so tragic today.

          Dr. M.E.S. took the opportunity to "assure" us of the status of those who attended the Ambassador's meeting." The letter stated that the meeting included "an attorney, a surgeon, several Ph.D.'s, Masters and undergraduate degrees." What does this meaningless statement contribute other than a pompous willingness to offend with a sense of superiority? The professional class can hold a dictator aloft just as easily as the working class. As a matter of fact, the professional class has the most to gain by supporting an autocrat.

          Dr. M.E.S. ends his letter with the following statement: "I refuse to be intimidated by anyone and I will attend when I am invited and will travel to Libya if asked." In other words, he will go to Libya if he is summoned. He did not state that he would go to Libya because he loves our country. This exposes Dr. M.E.S. as a ready and willing subject of a dictator. As we have mentioned above, such submissiveness is antithetical to Islam.

          Dr. M.E.S. is not the only person who shares such attitudes. There are some people who claim that they are advocates for Islam, yet they commit actions that go against the principles they claim to uphold. In Islam, the end does not justify the means.

          We must distinguish between Islam and the people who claim that they are Muslims, because the difference is vast. All the Arab rulers from the Ocean to the Gulf claim they are Muslims, but, to various degrees, they humiliate and oppress their people. These rulers have the following in common: their primary motivation is to humiliate their people and steal the wealth of their countries, to remain in power forever and bequeath this power and wealth to their children. They believe that they own the nations they rule. They believe they own the entire population. They are parasites whose only intention is self-aggrandizement and selfish profit. This is why our current situation is miserable and the Middle East remains in the Third World, an area which receives too little respect from the more developed nations.

Long live Libya--victory to her dedicated sons!

Othman Bentaher

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